Looking to teach in Eastern Europe a bit off the beaten path? Often overlooked due to its neighbors, Slovakia is relatively untouched by tourism, leaving its innate charm fully intact. Gaining independence in 1993, Slovakia is a relatively young country but still offers a rich history complete with castles and fortresses. It is also home to beautiful countryside filled with places to hike and old folksy traditions to explore. The train system is a wonderful and easy way to explore.
Slovakia is quickly gaining its place in the EU and with that, its citizens are looking to learn English. If teaching in a European country which is still relatively untouched by tourism and easily accessible to other parts of Eastern Europe, look no further than Slovakia.
In order to teach English in Slovakia, most teachers will require a bachelor’s degree and TEFL certification. The average salary for teaching in Slovakia is $400 - $950 per month.
There are a variety of schools which you will be able to teach in Slovakia. The hours will range from 20 to 30 hours of classroom work, plus prep time, and more if you are teaching private lessons. The following are ways to teach English:
Private Language Schools
Most jobs will be found working for a private school. However, you may not spend as much time at the school, but at private companies that will hire the school to teach English. Work here if you are willing to move around more and not be in the same place each day.
State Primary and Secondary Schools
The public schools of Slovakia do not pay as well as the private schools, but will give you a more cultural experience of Slovakia. The students are said to be very willing learners who show great potential for learning. For many expats, part of the experience of living abroad, especially if you pick a smaller city or rural area, is getting involved in the local community.
Much more flexible than a set school schedule, the only draw back is unclear hours. Pay can range from 12 to 45 USD depending on your credentials. Most people who teach lessons do so in addition to a day job.
Where and When to Look for Jobs:
The typical hiring process begins in August and then again January and consists of an in person interview in Slovakia. There are opportunities to interview over the phone/skype/email before arriving, but always be prepared for an in person interview. Due to low job competition, finding a job is relatively easy, provided you are qualified.
The best places to ensure a teaching job are the bigger cities such as Bratislava, Kosice, Nitra, Presov, Banksa, and Bystrica. Do not discount the smaller towns, they need English teachers too!
In order to teach in Slovakia a TEFL, or TESOL, certification is absolutely required. It is also quite helpful (and preferred) if you have a bachelor’s degree, but not required. It is also preferable if you are an EU citizen, as a work Visa for will be much easier to obtain. For others, Visas are still possible, the process is just more complex.
Salary & Cost of Living:
A typical salary, ranging from 550-1300 USD, will afford you rent and a few other expenses. This may or may not include a living allowance, but schools will usually help at least find accommodations. Many teachers live together in apartments, which will bring rent down and allow you more spending money. Health care is usually included in salary. Cost of living is still relatively low, compared to other European countries, but is slowly creeping up, so just make sure to budget your money.
Classroom & Work Culture:
Greetings tend to be warm, but reserved usually a handshake, direct eye contact, and greeting. People are introduced by their title and surname; wait to be invited to use first names.
Always arrive on time to class and meetings and dress as though you are showing respect for your job. For a teacher, business casual and business is appropriate- depending on your school. If you are teaching private lessons use your judgment. You want to be taken seriously so dress like it.
Polish students are very willing learners and will be responsive to any effort you put forth in your lessons. However, they will also recognize when you are slacking off, so just be aware of how you present yourself.
Teaching in a country where the native language will be a difficult but extremely rewarding experience you will never forget!